Biden can draw on lessons from Ukraine amid tensions with China over Taiwan

Removing diplomatic ambiguities would avoid any misunderstanding with Beijing, as Borzou Daragahi explains

Monday 23 May 2022 23:23
<p>Joe Biden with Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida on Monday </p>

Joe Biden with Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida on Monday

For more than four decades, the United States trod a careful line on Taiwan, leaving it unclear how far it would go to support the breakaway island in the event that China sought to take control of it militarily. But in recent years, that finely calibrated caution has begun to erode. Russia’s war in Ukraine may have demolished it.

President Joe Biden appeared to set aside decades of carefully calibrated US policy on Monday by explicitly vowing to defend the island nation of 24 million should Beijing launch military action to reclaim for the mainland what it regards as a breakaway territory.

Mr Biden was answering a reporter’s question at a joint news conference in Tokyo with the Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, during what was his first trip to Asia as president. He was asked whether the US would go as far to defend Taiwan as it has Ukraine.

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